How long does it take to feel like a kid at Cole’s Gourmet Candy after you walk in?
About 45 seconds.
Cindy Cole greets you and takes you on a tour of this shop on N. Academy, across from Chapel Hills mall. Something strange happens as she shows you the bulk candy, the nostalgic sodas and the old-fashioned candies. You gradually change from a guarded adult to an excited 7 year old.
Except this time you’ve got money and you can buy whatever you want.
Cindy finishes the tour and starts giving you samples. Try this popcorn we make here in the shop! Try this house-made fudge! Try a bit of this house-made popsicle called a paleta!
The shop is a little oasis of happiness in a stressful world. Here are five products that will make you happy, whether you eat them or not!
- Root Beer
Cole’s has what must be the most comprehensive selection of root beer in the state! I can’t remember how many different kinds they have, but they covered several shelves.
They don’t just have root beer. The shop carries all kinds of old-fashioned sodas, including some flavors I’d never heard of before!
2. Moon Pies
I’ve read about Moon Pies, but had never actually seen one. Did you know they come in chocolate flavor?
I also found Ice Cubes, weird flavors of gum and a selection of candies made in Colorado, such as Hammonds of Denver. Cole’s carries bulk candies as well, including a childhood favorite of mine, Jordan Almonds.
3. Chocolate Covered Popcorn with Sea Salt
Who came up with this idea? This stuff satisfies cravings for both sweet and salty food at the same time!
It’s just plain dangerous to keep this in the house and I can say the same about the Extra Buttery popcorn. I brought home a small bag of it, but nobody else got to taste it. I ate it all before the other residents of the Homestead even knew it existed.
I swear I didn’t mean to. It just happened.
Cole’s carries dozens of popcorn flavors, from cinnamon to bacon cheddar to caramel cashew. The menu is two pages long. All of their popcorns are made in the store in a fascinating mixing machine, but that’s a story for another blog.
Paletas are the popsicles you would make if you didn’t just buy them from the ice cream truck. They are made out of fruit and cane sugar with additions of coconut milk and rice milk for creamy versions.
The paletas are made in-house, with organic ingredients whenever possible. They are colorful, flavorful and fun! You can try a sample before choosing a flavor.
5. Fudge with Silly Names
Don’t ask me why, but the “Moose Poo” flavor of fudge is very popular. It comes in a set with other moose-themed flavors during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but you can also get it by the pound.
I went with the more traditional chocolate fudge.
All of the fudge is made in-house and samples are available.
The owners, Cindy and Tom, tell a story that describes how you feel at the end of your visit. A lady and her husband came in once and bought a huge bag of popcorn. As they were leaving, the lady exclaimed, “We need more of this!”
“What do you mean?”, retorted her husband. “You’ve already got a huge bag.”
“No,” she responded, gesturing to the store itself. “More of this.”
And she’s right. A little more delight makes the world a much better place.
Note: I got this interview with Tom and Cindy because Colorado Springs digital marketing firm Uzu Media hired me to write the content for Cole’s new website. The fact that I am being paid and am acting like a responsible grownup does not affect my written opinion of the shop or of Cindy’s magical power to make you feel like a happy child once in the store.
copyright 2016 Hungry Chicken Homestead